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Jeff Patton, MD, Tennessee Oncology, CEO,
OneOncology, President of Physician Services

Change is good. Much can happen in a year. Moving from a comfortable, familiar place to one with new paths, new experiences and new goals is both challenging and invigorating at the same time. Good fortune is when you choose change because you know the future belongs to those who adapt, rather than being unprepared for change, because you failed to see what lies ahead. Change is energizing when you harness it but painful when it catches you off-guard.

What an experiential year 2019 can be for all of us who see the future. I’m excited.

Of late I have spent a good deal of time pondering leadership more specifically physician leadership. I’m a student and devotee of servant leadership. I want to share this particular quote because it has always been especially revealing to me:

“Servant-leadership is more than a concept, it is a fact.
Any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see
herself or himself as a servant of that group and will act accordingly.”

― M. Scott Peck, Psychiatrist
Author of The Road Less Traveled and People of the Lie

The servant-leadership style is clearly well suited for physicians. Many of us chose to become physicians because of our desire to serve. That same desire also speaks true for those of us who have chosen a leadership path. When I encourage providers to take on leadership roles, I explain it the way I see it, which is like this:
Providers typically help one patient at a time.
Leaders can help an unlimited number of patients at a time.

What qualities define a successful leader?
– Honesty and integrity, first and foremost.
– Communication proficiency and emotional intelligence.
– Strategic thinking and execution.
– Strong decision-making skills.

By chance, these same traits and attributes are necessary to be a good physician.
Physicians are problem solvers. Leaders are problem solvers.  

“Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then
rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win.
In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.”

― Ken Blanchard
Management Expert and Author

For emphasis I also share the enlightening servant-leadership quote above, which has been a beacon in my own leadership journey. In my first meeting with newly hired physicians, I tell each one, “Please treat me like I work for you. My job is to help you be as successful as possible.”

Healthcare needs more physician leaders and I hope many of you will consider taking on leadership positions. 2019 is primed for a great start. Take a leading role.

Happy New Year and thanks for everything you do.